Obsessive-compulsive disorder and the family emotional environment

C. Bressi, G. Guggeri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A number of studies carried out to assess the influence of family atmosphere and conditions on the course of the obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) are reviewed. The effect of parental expressed emotion on the activity of the autonomic nervous system in the case of children with OCD has been assessed by measuring the spontaneous fluctuations in skin conductance. It has been observed that, in comparison with controls, subjects with OCD show more markedly the effects of parental high expressed emotion, in particular that of the father. It has moreover been found, from other studies, that families which adapt to the patient by participating in the ritualized behaviours typical of the disorder present higher levels of stress and unfavourable family functioning. Yet other studies have shown that a negative attitude of the family has an adverse effect on the patient's symptoms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)265-269
Number of pages5
JournalNew Trends in Experimental and Clinical Psychiatry
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1996


  • expressed emotion
  • family
  • obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • skin conductance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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